Oct 05, 2011

Afrikaner: Secretary of Parliament Attempts to Silence Media

Freedom Front Plus leader, Pieter Groenewald, condemns Secretary to Parliament Zingile Dingani’s attempts to curtail the freedom of the media, following the use of anonymous quotes by officials critical of party activities.

Below is an article by Business Day:

Secretary to Parliament Zingile Dingani was trying to gag the media through a protocol which forbids reporters from knocking on the office doors of MPs or parliamentary officials, Freedom Front Plus parliamentary leader Pieter Groenewald said this morning [5 Oct. 2011].

His statement comes after reports were published that Mr Dingani had written to Independent Newspapers wanting to know why its reporter Deon de Lange’s parliamentary accreditation should not be revoked. Mr de Lange had earned the ire of Mr Dingani and the ANC in Parliament by quoting an anonymous official who criticised the handling of the "secrecy bill" by the ruling party.

"The Secretary to Parliament, Zingile Dingani’s attempt to suspend the accreditation of a journalist, Deon de Lange, because the latter had spoken to a Parliamentary official, is threatening media freedom as well as one of the corner stones of a representative democracy. To furthermore draft a protocol for the media which would prevent journalists to turn up at the offices of Members of Parliament (MP’s) without an invitation, will indirectly gag the media.

"It is essential that the media informs voters about the work and views of Parliament. With the drafting of the protocol for the media in Parliament, MP’s and political parties have to be known in the matter. Parliament cannot one-sidedly make decisions for MP’s. The secretary (Dingani) should rather manage his personnel than try to control the media. The media should be allowed to communicate freely with whomever it wishes. It always remains the other party’s prerogative to react or refrain from reacting," Mr Groenewald said.